Adventures in Sherwood, Tennessee

I know I said the town of Sherwood was small and quiet but, surprisingly, we found a ton of stuff to do. Sherwood is full of history and natural beauty, and even with six full days, we still managed to stay busy exploring the area. We were very happy to see that there were so many things to do in Sherwood, Tennessee.

Hiking

One of our favorite things to do in Sherwood was to explore the lush greenery. The Bolo Club has a bunch of hiking and riding trails stretching across the property. We got a look, first hand, at how much effort it takes to maintain such trails. Our hosts were out each morning mowing ridiculously large sections of land and checking the various shelters for wasp’s nests and snakes. Their effort was put to good use though, because these beautifully maintained trails kept us very busy.

A grass path runs up the center. To the left of the path is a line of trees and a hint of a stilted building. To the right, a corn field.

One trail took us through a corn field. We passed a herd of white tailed deer and eventually came to a two story “tiki hut” overlooking the stream. Another trail took us along the stream itself. Along the stream, we were able to spot rainbow trout, tons of butterflies, and a bunch of river snails. We heard that this particular trail led to a large cave, but the afternoon sun caused us to tap out before we got there.

A fallen tree rests over a river surrounded by trees in Sherwood, Tennessee.

Upon seeing our interest in the trails, the owner of the property was kind enough to take us on a private tour. He loaded up his rifle, his dog, gave Josh a quick driving lesson, and we hit the trails on a large ATV. It was a ton of fun and gave us a great look at the property. We were taken to the source of the creek and told that in some seasons, one could kayak all the way to the Tennessee river. Josh was particularly pleased to get a lesson about the local flora and the effects they have on the formation of the land. We both agreed that it was the highlight of the week.

An ATV drives through a river surrounded by trees in Sherwood, Tennessee.

Chattanooga

Okay, okay, Chattanooga is not in Sherwood, so maybe we’re cheating a bit here. But, if you are looking for things to do in Sherwood, it is worth the 112 mile (180km) trip to Chattanooga. It is a growing city located on the Tennessee River. The city has a population of about 160,000, and is home to the fastest internet speeds in the nation thanks to the local fiber optics installations. It contributes to the overall hipster vibe that we were immediately drawn to.

colorful candy and soda shop with old photos on the wall.

With wide sidewalks and designated bike trails, downtown Chattanooga is very pedestrian and bike friendly. We left Darla at a park just outside of the main downtown area, then walked across the river to downtown proper. There, we stopped in to a few fun shops. We did finally take a rest at the Big River Brewery for some local beers and a delicious hand-crafted sandwich.

Beer menu at Big River Brewery with hand-drawn labels of approval.
An example of our tried and true smiley face rating system. We were very happy at Big River!

We continued our walk through town and were really impressed by the number of beautiful buildings and interesting shops. I could have spent all day just popping into one unique restaurant after another. We walked over to the art museum and through the free sculpture garden. The view was amazing. The river snakes through town and was sprinkled with kayakers, boaters, and fishermen. We could easily see ourselves enjoying a life here in Chattanooga.

Chattanooga Tennessee skyline from under a sculpture of people crossing a bridge.

Faye’s Kitchen

After eating pretty much the same food every day for three days in a row, we thought it was time to visit the restaurant in town, Faye’s Kitchen. It was about 15 minutes away from The Bolo Club and located in a converted trailer home just off the main road. Faye’s five tables were packed with locals. Each one looked like they had already seen a hard day’s work despite it was only 11:30AM. Our table mate told us we should get one of each of the specials. “You won’t be disappointed,” he promised in a thick Southern accent.

Baked potato topped with cheddar cheese, pulled pork, and bbq sauce. Served with Coca cola.

He was right. I ordered the Pulled Pork Baked Potato with a side of Coca-Cola. For my foreign friends, the baked potato is a regular favorite of mine. When friends come over, I’ll make each person a potato and serve it with a collection of sides. I start by adding salt and oil to each obscenely large potato, bake until just tender, slice open, then serve. This particular potato was served with copious amounts of butter, cheese, homemade sour cream, and tender/almost creamy shredded pork. As a Southern specialty, the whole thing was topped with sweet BBQ sauce. It may have been one of the best baked potatoes I have ever eaten… and I’m from IDAHO!

Sherwood

The town of Sherwood itself used to be a pretty hopping place. There used to be a limestone quarry, but once it shut down in 1949, the population of the city plummeted making it the sleepy town of 550 people it is today. The one positive side to this quick collapse is that some of the old buildings are still around to tell the story. This walk through history turned out to be one of my favorite things to do in Sherwood.

Abandoned limestone quarry in Sherwood, Tennessee. The building is grey, falling apart, and becoming overgrown with trees and vines.

As far as we could see, the town hosts a restaurant, post office, church, and that’s about it. We saw a school and a gas station, but they both looked either shut down or in massive need of repair. What we did see a lot of were farm homes (each with at least six cars in the lawn for some reason) and several cemeteries.

Cemetery in a valley surrounded by forested hills.

Sewanee

One of the larger neighboring towns is Sewanee. According to the locals, it is one of the top places to visit when in Sherwood. Sewanee hosts a couple of restaurants, shops, hiking trails, and The University of the South.

The University of the South is a private liberal arts school founded by the Episcopal Church. The campus is surrounded by beautiful views of the Tennessee Valley. Most of the buildings were built in the Gothic style, which gave it an almost forbidden feeling among the trailer parks and farm land.

Gothic style building at the University of the South in Sewadee, Tennessee.

Between Sherwood and Sewanee is a short hike that leads to a natural bridge of limestone. The walk to the bridge was an easy hike down some well-maintained stairs and took less than five minutes. However, it looked like the hike continued on past the bridge for quite a ways. We weren’t dressed properly, so we didn’t explore any further, but I would have liked to.

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Things to Do in Sherwood, Tennessee

We were super surprised at all of the things to do in Sherwood (and a bit beyond). And according to our hosts, we didn’t even scratch the surface! We grew up in a small town. I remember thinking there was nothing to do, yet I somehow always found a way to have fun. That is the beauty of small towns, isn’t it? It’s the fun of finding all of the secret, hidden gems.


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